Monday, 23 August 2010

There goes the summer sun...

As I write I am hiding under my duvet in a vain attempt to block out the sound of rain against my terrace doors. It seems that Summer has really deserted us, which in a strange way leads me to this post. Just because the days are getting colder, doesn't mean we have to do away with our summer routine. Sunblock is perhaps the most important part of any beauty regimen. No anti-wrinkle cream can unwind years of UV damage, so the best, easiest, most healthy (as well as cheapest) way to keep your skin looking young and fresh is to wear sunblock every day!

Even though now many cosmetic products, be it your moisturiser, foundation or powder, have SPF in them you would have to apply a very thick layer to reach the factor it claims on the bottle. If your foundation is SPF 25 (eg. Dior Forever) 1 or 2 pumps will never provide you with that protection. Therefore, I always recommend you wear a potent sunblock in addition to any other cosmetics.

I have been using the summer months to put various products through their paces to see which ones really work, not just in terms of protection, but ease of use and how well they can fit into a morning routine. As with all cosmetics, for me less is more, except for mascara... where more is always more ;).

Face

The skin on the face is exposed to the sun more than any other part of the body, and it is the area we  are most concerned with protecting, therefore I try to look for the highest factor available. However, these creams tend to be very thick and sticky/oily and often clogg my pores leading to breakouts. I have tried many, but have managed to narrow it down to my two favourites.


Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defence SPF 50 - I have always loved the EA 8 hour cream and this product is a great addition to the line. I normally use it instead of a moisturiser, as it is very hydrating and keeps my skin soft as well as protecting it from UVA/UVB rays. As it is quite a thick cream it really does last all day and needs minimum reapplication, even if you are swimming/ playing sport etc. This is a fantastic sun block for holidays, as well as every day wear. However, if you have oily skin remember that a little goes a long way, especially if you are wearing makeup! 
MAC SPF 50 - This is a great sunblock if you are intending to wear more makeup because it acts as a fantastic base. It really keeps your foundation put through out the day. I have gone through three tubes of this and can't recommend it highly enough.

 Body

For sunblock on the rest of the skin I look for something that is easy and quick to apply. The last thing you want on the beach, while playing tennis etc. is a thick cream that will make you sticky, hot and make you pespire even more by preventing your skin from 'breathing' (I use this term loosely).

Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection milk - This lotion comes in a range of SPF (I have tried the 15, 30 and 50). What I absolutely love about this is that it is a very thin formulation, which absorbs straight  into the skin and is not at all sticky. It feels much more like a lightweight moisturiser than a sunblock, and has a lovely fragrance. The only downside is that you do end up going through this quite quickly as it doesn't stay on the skin as long as some of the thicker ones, so needs to be reapplied frequently.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect - Another great product from the same range. Once again this is a light formulation that you can easily spray on. What makes this one stand out is that it is clear and is absorbed into the skin very rapidly. It takes seconds to apply and will never leave you looking streaky. It feels more like a light oil than a lotion and is not at all sticky. However, as it contains alcohol it has quite a strong smell and is not at all moisturising. If you have sensitive skin (or are applying this to already burnt skin) it can sting a little and it is definitely not a lotion you can ever use on your face!! The bf found this out the painful way, it burns :(.
 Liz Earle Mineral Suncream (SPF 20) - This is my favourite of all the creams I have used this summer. As my skin is very sensitive (especially to the sun and heat) I found that this sunscreen worked wonders as it not only protected, but soothed and hydrated my skin. At first glance this product seems a little strange as the cream is a sandy colour, and like all Liz Earle products, has a light, earthy scent, which is very different to most sunblocks on the market. Being quite thick it does take some time for it to sink in, but once applied it is not at all sticky and the fact that it is darker than most other lotions ensures that you are white-streak free. 

I hope that this was helpful to some of you who are off on holiday soon in the hope of catching the last rays if summer. I, myself, am off in search of Sun for the Bank holiday weekend and have already put the EA 8 hour sun defense and the Liz Earle mineral suncream safely in my bag :). 

What are your favourite sun blocks and will you be keeping up with sun protection over the coming colder months? xxx
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